(Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare Head Press, [1923-27]). 328 x 242 mm. (13 x 9 1/2"). Seven volumes. No. 11 OF 106 SIGNED SETS printed on Batchelor's Kelmscott paper, this being one of 100 copies for sale, from an overall edition limited to 606 copies, each volume signed by the editor Harley Granville-Barker, the art editor Albert Rutherston, and the volume's illustrator.
Publisher's deluxe chocolate brown morocco by Riviere & Son (three volumes) or olive brown morocco by Zaehnsdorf (four volumes), sides tooled in gilt with a Grolieresque-style border containing dolphins, fleurs-de-lys, acanthus leaves, and flame tool, raised bands, spine panels with small gilt "X" tool, gilt titling, top edges gilt, other edges untrimmed. With a total of 42 color collotype plates and 99 woodcuts in the text by Albert Rutherston, Norman Wilkinson, Charles Ricketts, Thomas Lowinsky, Paul Nash, and Ernst Stern. Front pastedown with bookplate of John Herbert Bankes and Mary Priscilla Smith. Ransom, p. 12. Spines sunned to more closely matching shades of brown, leather with other trivial imperfections (just a hint of rubbing, one volume with small traces of insect activity, faint residue from leather preservative), but the bindings in very fine condition, bright, essentially unworn, and making a very pleasing appearance on the shelf. Occasional minor foxing to endpapers or tissue guards, but a clean, fresh, and bright set internally.
From a press that was established for the express purpose of printing an edition of Shakespeare in his home town, this is a handsome folio-sized series of Shakespearean plays with text from the First Folio, enhanced with illustrations by leading artists of the day and with bindings from two of the longest-running premier binderies in England. The set comprises: "Cymbeline," illustrated by Albert Rutherston (1923); "The Merchant of Venice," illustrated by Thomas Lowinsky (1923); "Macbeth," illustrated by Charles Ricketts (1923); "Loves Labour's Lost," illustrated by Norman Wilkinson (1924); "A Midsommer Nights Dreame," illustrated by Paul Nash (1924); "Julius Caesar," illustrated by Ernst Stern (1925); and "King Lear," illustrated by Paul Nash (1927). Ransom notes that the first two plays were issued on 23 April, the date of Shakespeare's birth. The Shakespeare Head Press was founded in Stratford by Arthur Henry Bullen in 1904 and was acquired after Bullen's death in 1920 by Basil Blackwell of Oxford (and others), who appointed the distinguished scholar-printer Bernard Newdigate (1869-1944) as typographer. Under Newdigate, the Shakespeare Head Press produced a substantial number of impressive editions, sometimes employing a hand press used by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press. According to Franklin, while under Newdigate's direction, the Shakespeare Head Press "became the most mature and sophisticated of the private presses." Both the Zaehnsdorf and the Riviere workshops opened in the 1840s, and quickly became leading West End binderies, continuing in business well into the 20th century. While individual volumes from the present series appear on the market with some regularity (though not usually in the deluxe binding), complete runs of the seven volumes of the deluxe edition are rarely seen. (ST17069)
Add to Cart Price: $17,000.00
PJP Catalog: 79.168